Thursday, November 6, 2014

Storytelling and More Storytelling

It's a busy time of year for storytellers, and I'm no exception. I am happy to say that I shook off that bad cold at last; huge doses of Vitamin C laced with echinacea seemed to do the trick--or maybe it had just run its course. Sadly, poor ol Larry is now down with it and he's dragging around like a whipped puppy. He much really feel bad because he's usually not one to let a little cold get him down. I know it certainly took its toll on me.

But today I feel like myself again, and just in time too, as I'll be leaving in the morning to travel to western Kentucky and the Kentucky Storytelling Association's annual conference. I'll be traveling with my friend, storyteller Jo Ann Dadisman and I know we'll have a fine time together. I can't wait to see all my Kentucky storytelling friends again!

So you can imagine I've been busy as a bee getting things in shape for me to leave. But first I had a few things to get out of the way: I had a full day of storytelling at the Ritchie County Middle School on Monday, four sessions with the 7th graders. What a delight that was. They were such good listeners and we chatted between stories about their experiences and they shared a story or two. They loved the old ballads--imagine that! They asked for more, totally surprised me. But then, so many of the ballads are about murder and mayhem and that's right up their alley. I'd cleared the songs with their school first because some schools have strict rules about what kinds of material can be presented. I loved the hugs, but best of all was the shouted, "Your stories rock!" from several students as I walked down the hall. And then there was the boy who was overheard by his teacher saying, "I thought it was gonna be boring but it was awesome!" Such things make me so glad I am in this profession.

I spent Tuesday voting and running errands for the most part. Sometimes it feels like we have to spend so much time on the road, but eBay packages have to be mailed, groceries and feed much be bought, and the van must be checked out when it decides to just not start for no reason at all. We figured that it was corroded battery terminals, but we'll see. All seems to be well for now.

Then Wednesday I worked on packing more eBay, pricing things for my booths, attending a meeting to recap the ghost walk of last month, and restocking the Ravenswood booth. Seems like the more I put in there, the more it needs--which means that things are selling, and that's good. I also talked with Jo Ann about the concert and workshop we've been planning in conjunction with the Fairmont University Frank and Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center. Susan Gordon, a well-known storytelling in the Washington DC Metro area, is coming to perform and present a workshop on telling the old tales. We've called it Grimm and Beyond, and I am so excited about being able to have this opportunity to explore old stories in depth with a master of hte craft.

Today I had a pretty ambitious to-do list so I had to hit the floor rolling. I was determined to de-clutter my kitchen; so often when I bring in new merchandise for the booths, it gets unpacked and put on the tables, counter, etc and I was beginning to feel crazy in there. The kitchen is now 95% back to normal. I still have to tackle the living room, and the log room is full of furniture projects we're working on. I need a building for this stuff! It feels like I work just as hard trying to keep it all contained as I do actually selling it. I hope that next spring I can afford to buy a large storage building that we can use for painting and repair work as well as storage, and then I can keep this mess out of the house. I had no idea when I started reselling that it would take off like this, or that I would enjoy it so much. It's become almost a full-time job in itself, which I don't mind except for it taking over our house. With the holidays coming, however, I've got to get things cleared out. So that's my project for the coming week.

More storytelling is coming too--I'll be telling stories for a class at the University of Charleston on Monday, and then at Philippi Elementary School on Wednesday. The concert and workshop are next week too, November 14 and 15, and on the 20th I'll be telling as part of Tellabration in Athens, Ohio, and on the 22nd in Beckley as part of their Tellabration event. I'm glad I got my Fall cold out of the way already!

I think that pretty much catches up where I've been and what I've been up to lately. I hope you've been keeping well, warm and dry as the weather begins its turn to winter.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Traveling West Virginia: Princeton, WV

Loved the old art deco theater! The diner next door is being
restored to its original period look, I heard.
I was down south yesterday, although you'd never know it from the photos.

Snow! Only a light dusting but a sure reminder that winter is hard on our heels.

We were in Princeton, West Virginia, which is in Mercer county, bordering on the southwest Virginia line. Storytelling was the reason for this trip--I'd been contacted by Rachel, the owner of the Sly Fox Shoppe, to present ghost stories for their first-ever Stories on the Square. The square is a small outside performance area in the heart of the old-town business district. I'd performed there several years ago in the summer and was delighted to return to this friendly and quaint town. The weather didn't cooperate with having an outside event--no one wants to sit outside in the wet snow/rain mix in temperatures below freezing, even if the stories are smoking hot!

So we moved indoors to the intriguing Nonna's Bakery, which is really more than a bakery--their menu includes some delicious Italian dinners. But before the show, I had time to snap a few shots of the downtown area. Princeton is home to a number or artists and their work is evident:





I loved this "buck in disguise" in The Sly Fox Shoppe:

 I did not get any photos of the storytelling, but afterwards took a minute to snap a few of the downtown. So pretty.


As part of the storytelling show, I was joined by members of the Appalachee Paranormal group, who have investigated a variety of paranormal sites in their part of West Virginia as well as other places both in and out of state. I was intrigued by the adventures they described, and I realized the difference in how we approach ghost stories: they search for whatever might be left of the phenomena in the place it occurred, while I search the history behind the phenomena to figure out why it happens. Two different approaches, but both produce interesting stories.

Today were were unpacking (of course we stopped at a few places to find new things for our antique mall booths) and then re-packing for tomorrow's trip north to Ritchie County, West Virginia and the Ritchie County Middle School. I'm off to bed now so I can be ready for a bright-and-early start on what promises to be yet another cold frosty morning in the mountains.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

On the Road Again--Princeton, WV

I'm traveling again today, this time to Princeton, WV, to tell ghost stories for their Stories in the Square event.  I hear there's snow on the ground, but the roads are clear. Great night for ghostly tales!


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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